By: Dr. Keith Kantor, CEO of NAMED Program
Chronic pain can be any condition that causes pain, stiffness of the joints and soft tissue. It often can lead to weight gain or loss and depression. Occasionally, chronic pain especially those with arthritis can also cause redness, swelling, and warmth in the joints. In severe cases, joints may become misshapen.
Although you may associate malnutrition with hunger in third world countries, malnutrition, in fact, is simply lacking nutrients necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Patients with chronic pain are considered to be at nutritional risk for many reasons. One cause of poor nutritional status in this patient population is thought to be the result of the weight loss and a general loss of vitality and strength linked to cytokine production. In patients experiencing chronic inflammation, the production of cytokines, such as interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor, increases resting metabolic rate (daily caloric burn) and protein break down. The patient then is faced with the challenge of increasing both calorie and protein intake to meet the nutritional requirements of the increased metabolic rate.
Two-three daily servings of lean, natural protein such as chicken breast, fish or lean meat will be beneficial in maintaining a healthy weight.
Food preparation and purchasing can often be challenging for those living with pain. The pain and swelling associated with the disease makes cooking and shopping uncomfortable and difficult. In such cases, a grocery home delivery service or meal preperation service is quite beneficial.
The effects of pain medications that are frequently taken long-term may also compound nutritional issues. One example of this is observed in patients receiving methotrexate; such patients are frequently identified with folic acid deficiency. Sources of folic acid include dark leafy green vegetables and fortified breads, cereals and grains.
Additionally, prolonged dosing of other medications may be associated with conditions such as gastritis or peptic ulcer, frequently reducing a persons desire to eat.
Numerous studies have shown that antioxidants are highly beneficial for those suffering from chronic pain. Increased intake of antioxidants, such as selenium and vitamin E, may decrease free-radical damage to joint linings, which diminish swelling and pain. Antioxidants are contained in such foods as berries (blueberries, cherries, raspberries), grapes, oranges, plums, peppers, artichokes, beans, lemons and others.
What Is Beta-cryptoxanthin?
Beta-cryptoxanthin is classified as a pro-vitamin carotenoid. In the body it can be converted to an active form of vitamin A.Vitamin A is recognized as being important for skin and bone health, as well as immune function. Beta-cryptoxanthin is contained in yellow or orange fruits and vegetables. Here is a list of yellow and orange fruits and vegetables from www.5aday.org:
Which Fruits And Vegetables Are Highest In Beta-Cryptoxanthin?
According to www.NutritionData.com, a comprehensive listing of the 467 foods highest in beta-cryptoxanthin shows:
Vegetables: peppers, pumpkins, and winter squash as the vegetables with the highest levels of beta- cryptoxanthin per serving.
Fruits: persimmons, tangerines, and papayas as the fruits with the highest levels of beta-cryptoxanthin per serving.
Zeaxanthin is another carotenoid with antioxidant power, food sources of zeaxanthin include green leafy vegetables and yellow/orange fruits and vegetables.
Research from the University of Manchester supports studies that have concluded dietary antioxidants, such a carotenoids, beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin as well as vitamin C, may be related to reducing the effects of inflammation and chronic pain.
All-Natural Diet & Pain Management Antioxidant Rich Foods List:
Yellow apples, Apricots, Cantaloupe, Cape Gooseberries, Yellow figs, Grapefruit, Golden kiwifruit, Lemon, Mangoes, Nectarines, Oranges, Papayas, Peaches, Yellow pears, Persimmons, Pineapples, Tangerines, Butternut squash, Carrots, Yellow peppers, Yellow potatoes, Pumpkin, Rutabagas, Yellow summer squash, Sweet potatoes, Yellow tomatoes, Yellow winter squash
Studies have shown that changes in diet can impact the lives of pain sufferers. For example, consuming seafood high in Omega-3 fatty acids can often decrease the inflammation of joints. Other foods proven to reduce inflammation include strawberries, foods rich in fiber, and olive oil.
There are numerous supplements that have been proven to manage and minimize the risks and effects of inflammation. Supplementation of calcium and vitamin D are recommended to decrease the risk of osteoporosis that results in nutritional loss from the disease, from menopause and from concurrent steroid therapy. Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D include yogurt, milk, cheese and other dairy products.
One prominent study shows that consuming fruits and vegetables containing Beta- cryptoxanthin and Zeaxanthin may reduce the risk for developing inflammatory arthritis.
Study source: Dietary B-cryptoxanthin and inflammatory polyarthritis: results from a population-based prospective study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.August 2005. http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/82/2/451
Core supplement recommendations for those with chronic pain are listed below. Additional supplements may be recommended by your doctor.
- Omega 3 fatty acids from Krill or Fish oil
- A potent high quality multivitamin that contains or exceeds your daily requirements of the below nutrients:
- Selenium, vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamin D and Vitamin A
For information on obtaining detailed menus and recipes e-mail Dr. Keith Kantor at email@example.com